A Focus on Building Skills for Employment and Career Exploration

At the New Canadians Centre, the Workplace Integration team helps newcomers join the workforce by providing job search support and coaching. Recognising the importance of building and expanding skills for employability across ages, the team also focuses on developing and facilitating skills development and job preparedness training. 

Sabrina Kuipers is the Skills Development Specialist at the New Canadians Centre and works with clients to assess skill gaps and then creates programs, workshops or training sessions to fill those needs. This role also works with employers to support newcomers integrating into the workplace. Over the past year, Sabrina has been working with clients to identify and build their strengths and abilities in order to set them up for future success. 

Much of the work we have done thus far has supported adults, particularly women in building and expanding their skills. One example is the Home-Based Business Incubator (HOBBI) Training Program which wrapped up in July 2021. The program supported newcomer women in creating their own business by facilitating workshops, building confidence, making connections and providing ongoing mentorship. The training covered marketing, accounting, networking, customer service skills and more. Eleven women completed the program and are continuing to work hard on developing their businesses. 

Newcomer women participate in a virtual session of the Home Based Business Incubator (HOBBI) Training Program advancing their skills in business and entrepreneurship. (Sabrina Kuipers is in the top row, second from left)

Other trainings have included a Workplace Culture Workshop Series and a Brand Photography Workshop for Newcomer Women. There are plans for more activities in the future, but the next skills development program is targeted toward newcomer youth.

This March Break, Sabrina and the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) team will be running the Youth Explore Program, a free March Break camp for newcomer youth in high school to learn about future careers and their next steps in life. The program will run March 14-18 inside the Peterborough Alternative & Continuing Education (PACE/PCVS) building with bus passes and lunch supplied. Sabrina says “the purpose of the camp is to give these kids information, guidance and support about what is available to them next.” 

Newcomer youth participate in a fun team-building activity before the pandemic

For lots of youth, life after high school is unknown and the pressures of navigating the world can be overwhelming, especially for newcomers. Over the course of five days, the newcomer youth will learn about: finding strengths and skill identification, career exploration and labour market information, resumes and cover letters, interview skills and finally, storytelling, visioning and goal setting.

Fun and interactive activities will be used to help prepare and empower youth as they learn about the many opportunities after high school. Sabrina hopes the camp will be a safe and encouraging environment for newcomer youth to explore and learn as well as connect with peers. The goal is that youth leave the program with employable skills, readiness for their first or next job, confidence in themselves and pride in their newcomer identity.

Are you a newcomer youth in Peterborough? Would you like to participate in the March Break Youth Explore Program? Please contact Sabrina Kuipers for more information & to register: [email protected]